Hot Chef: Jodi Bernhard from Casa Pomona

GONY_HotChef_0228

Jodi Bernhard is in the kitchen at Casa Pomona (507 Columbus Ave.,  212-362-3200).

Credit: Karen Bruno

Nothing feels like an afterthought at Casa Pomona, where the work cooked into each dish at the Upper West Side tapas restaurant shows. From clams with a special hot sauce that started out as an accessory to cooks’ meals in the kitchen to churros that are dangerously light and fluffy, your hardest decision will be which tapas to order. Fear not, however – if you visit for the very reasonable daily happy hour (beer and wine for $5, sangria for $4) tapas at the bar are free. For a longer meal, make sure to order a glass of the Spanish garnacha, which executive chef Jodi Bernhard recommends – it perfectly complements the fare.

How did you wind your way toward Spanish food?
There are a lot of influences I had from before. I was working with Spanish food, when I first started my career. I worked really heavily with French, then I started working with Italian chefs. Those influences intertwine so readily, the European, French and Italian especially. … It literally was the appeal of being able to cook in a fairly simple and rustic style but have elements of refinement and being ingredients-focused and seasonal and simple, the ability to take one ingredient and put it on the plate and highlight it.

You were in Connecticut before. What is different about cooking in New York City?
It’s dramatically different in that I put a lot more pressure on myself more than anything. It’s a big deal to have in your head that you’re cooking in New York City. In terms of what I’m doing with the food and the styling of the menu and the kinds of dishes I’m offering, I think I’m able to get a little more adventurous, but at the same time I don’t feel like my basic menu composition has changed that dramatically.

What is your favorite dish to cook?
Mussels en escebeche. This is a dish that was totally a “me” dish. I put it on the menu because I love them, the mussels. I’m continually surprised when I get overwhelmingly positive feedback on that, not because I don’t think it’s a great dish, I do, but they’re mussels and they’re being served cold, which is unusual. And it’s also something that doesn’t leap off the page as, “Oh, that’s definitely something I’d order.” But they have caught on.

What are you experimenting with right now?
I’ve started to focus a little bit more on seafood. That’s always a pretty prominent ingredient, of course, but I feel like I’ve just gotten to the point in the last couple of weeks where I’ve been able to feel comfortable with the core menu. Last night I pulled in some razor clams, and I made this sauce actually for internal use, for people to eat who like spicy food or if a customer asks for hot sauce. People have gone so crazy with it that I’m like, “Well I guess I should use this on a dish.” I did the razor clams with that sauce, which I call the salsa roja. It was pretty neat.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…

National

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

Local

VIDEO: NYPD seeks shooter in East New York…

Cops are on the lookout for an unknown shooter who aimed and missed hitting a man on a bicycle, instead nearly striking a nearby officer in East New York.

Local

NYS state forces thrift shops comply with ban…

Nine New York City thrift shops were reprimanded by the state attorney general for selling children's clothes with drawstrings around the neck and waist.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 11,…

Caleb's not a ghost. Spencer might still be an attempted murderer. And Hanna's going to die next week. In other words, we actually got some…

Movies

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

Marvel Entertainment's Stan Lee is adding outposts to his creative empire to interest a new generation of children in super heroes of all shapes and sizes.

Television

Mira Sorvino explores immortality on 'Intruders'

Mira Sorvino's new show "Intruders" centers around a secret society that achieves immortality by taking over the bodies of other people.

Television

5 things you need to know about new…

"Doctor Who" returns Saturday with a new star, Peter Capaldi. Here's some things to know about him (mainly his turn as sweary spin doctor Malcolm Tucker).

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

NFL

David Wilson returns to triple jump, sets sights…

Giants fans know David Wilson can jump. They are just more used to seeing him go for backflips, not distance.

Style

11 timeless gifts for registries or just because

Gifts to prove you're a style maven once and for all.

Parenting

How everyday moments can inspire kids' creativity

"The Artist's Way for Parents" author Julia Cameron gives advice on how parents and children can be creative together.

Tech

How to stay safe online

Stop worrying about keeping your online passwords safe, and start worrying about keeping your username a secret. Actually, worry about both. According to Shaun Murphy…

Tech

OpenTable now lets you pay your bill via…

The restaurant app OpenTable added the ability to pay your bill (and tip) with your phone, thus cutting back on a few dining annoyances.